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A History of Mumming

This page contains brief details about the video recording; the video (embedded in the page); an abstract for the talk; links to additional resources;  speaker biography and a summary.

Video recording of talk

Recording of a Morris Federation talk on “A History of Mumming ” by Stephen Rowley  held on Zoom on 14 November 2021. The #MorrisFedvideo lasts for 1 hour 57 minutes.



In the last 20 years significant advances have been made in understanding the origins of mumming and mummers plays.  The ‘pagan’ fertility ritual of life and death theory has been thoroughly rebutted and shown to be a misguided scholastic invention of the 1880s.  Examination of the evidence reveals a rich and colourful story of traditions with threads extending far beyond the shores of Britain.

Additional resources

Links to related resources:

Speaker biography

Stephen Rowley founded the Mummers Symposium in 2011 – an annual meeting of mummers, folklorists and academic researchers from around the world.  He is also a musician and dancer, founder of the International Mummers Festival, the International Pipe and Tabor Festival, and The Taborers Society.  He has performed and taught widely in Europe, USA, Russia and Australia.  He has a particular interest in the festival procession dances of the Iberian peninsular and their music.



  • Title: A History of Mumming 
  • Speaker: Stephen Rowley
  • Facilitator: Pauline Woods-Wilson
  • Type: talk
  • Date of talk: 14 November 2021
  • Date page published: 22 April 2023
  • Notes:

 #MFvideo    #MorrisFedvideo    #MorrisFedvideo

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